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Mr. Fox (2011)

by Helen Oyeyemi

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8763518,091 (3.65)60
Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don't get complicated. In this book, the celebrated writer Mr. Fox can't stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It's not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently.… (more)
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English (34)  Dutch (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
The dedication for this novel reads:

"For my Mr Fox
(Whoever you are)"

It then goes on to present what seems to be lots of similar but mismatched short stories of almost the same characters and almost continuing the same story. They always revolve around the relationship between this Mr Fox, his wife Daphne and a Miss Foxe.
In almost all of them Mr Fox is a horrible manipulative, gas lighting, misogynistic jerk. This could all have been okay, it's a really well written novel, but following on from the dedication the whole thing just really creeped me out. I've finished it feeling unclean and sickened.

I've never had a book ruined for me by the authors dedication before! My advice, don't read the dedication before the novel, or just interpret the whole thing differently to me. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Read 2015. ( )
  sasameyuki | Aug 13, 2020 |
Just fantastic! ( )
  PhasicDA | Aug 3, 2020 |
This is a fantastically weird book. It is complex and creepy and will get under your skin and make you think. I loved it. I loved the way, it weaved lots of different versions of the same basic story together, and thought it was a very interesting read. I would recommend it to anyone, particularly women. ( )
  queenofthebobs | Apr 8, 2020 |
This novel proved to me the importance of sticking with a book longer than its first few pages. The metafictional whimsy of the first 50 pages grated on me...and then all at once the book soared. Many times I feel that metafiction becomes cold and pointless, too self-aware for it to have greater purpose than to point back to the author's cleverness, so I tend to be on my guard when I begin a book that uses these elements. Oyeyemi's novel masterfully achieves what the best metafiction can do, though: It breaks the easy sentimental fictional dream that lulls readers into believing what they're reading is real, when it isn't; and then--this is the tricky part--it replaces the typical dream-fiction-sentimentality with something that feels genuine and real. So this is a bit of a meta-essay about this meta-fiction where I'm talking in generalities rather than specifics but it will have to do. The only authors I've felt have pulled this same trick off before in my reading experience--the trick of using metafiction to come closer to human experience, rather than distancing the reader from it--are Nabokov and Donald Barthelme.
( )
  poingu | Feb 22, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Helen Oyeyemi’s captivating new novel, “Mr. Fox,” begins with a jaunty spirit and a sense of play. We meet Mr. Fox; he is a writer of slasher books, and he has an assistant, a woman named Mary whom he conjured in a trench during his days fighting in World War I. He also has a wife, Daphne. At some point or other, all three of them write.

Mr. Fox is also a reference to the English folk tale character Bluebeard — a man who murders and dismembers women freely until his wife-to-be, the clever Lady Mary, turns the tables and exposes him.
 

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Epigraph
In the darkness they wondered if they could do it, and they knew they had to try to do it. - Mary Oliver
Dedication
For my Mr. Fox (whoever you are)
First words
Mary Foxe came by the other day--the last person on earth I was expecting to see.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don't get complicated. In this book, the celebrated writer Mr. Fox can't stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It's not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently.

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